Are you buying a new Chanel bag and can’t decide which leather to go for? We’re here to help with a full analysis of lambskin vs caviar leathers.
The iconic French fashion house Chanel was founded by Coco Chanel in 1910 and has since become world-renowned for incredible ready-to-wear and haute couture collections, astonishing runway shows, and iconic handbags. If you are looking to buy a Chanel bag, you may be wondering which leather you should go for.
Chanel offers their handbags in lambskin, calfskin, caviar, goatskin, and exotic leather, but today we are going to compare the two most popular options: lambskin and caviar.
This article will help you decide between the two; with a breakdown of the details of each type of leather, a look at the differences between the two, a comparison of different styles in each type of leather before coming to a definite conclusion on lambskin vs caviar.
lambskin vs caviar
Lambskin leather is soft and buttery smooth; it does not have a grained texture and looks sumptuous and puffy in Chanel’s diamond quilting. The softness and high-quality luxurious nature of lambskin is part of the reason why it is the core classic Chanel leather.
The finish on lambskin leather often gives the handbag a more luxurious look and a stronger color. Lambskin is more porous and so holds on to dye better than caviar leather, this means the colors will look stronger, richer, and more vibrant.
One of the benefits of lambskin is that it will keep its soft finish and shine without any conditioning so that glossy look will keep your Chanel bag looking incredible.
The downside of lambskin is that it is more prone to showing scratches and scuff and it is known as a less durable leather. It’s often recommended that you don’t use your lambskin bag as your everyday bag precisely for this reason.
That being said, lambskin is often a little more hardwearing than you may expect so if you buy one, don’t be afraid to wear it! (Editor’s note: I use my Trendy CC bag in lambskin leather often as my daily bag, so it can definitely be done!)
Caviar is a stamped calfskin leather that is available in different finishes, including matt, shiny and iridescent so you can pick the one that you love the most. Caviar is a more durable type of leather; this is due to the textured finish which means it will not scuff as easily and stays rigid to hold the structure of the bag for a long time.
Caviar leather is pretty low maintenance, you don’t have to baby it or buff it loads and it will still look great. This is perfect if you want to get lots of wear out of your Chanel bag, or if you want to resell it.
Thanks to caviar leather’s hardwearing reputation, it’s often the preferred bag on the secondhand market and sells for a higher price than its lambskin counterparts. Plus, if you look after it and keep the dust bag, it will remain just as luxurious as when you bought it.
One of the downsides is that because it is a stronger leather, it is less porous and therefore does not take to the dying process will – for example, in the shade of black, the bag will look black in indoor lighting, but in the sun it may look more like a greyish black.
Caviar bags may sometimes be hard to find in Chanel stores as well as on the resale market because it is one of the most popular leather and so it is often sold out. Plus, Chanel makes more bag styles in lambskin leather so there may be fewer caviar bags available in the first place.
differences between lambskin Vs caviar
The first difference between lambskin vs caviar, and the one you should be most aware of is the fact that caviar Chanel bags have higher durability than lambskin bags. All different types of leather have a different finish, and the pebbled finish of caviar leather means it is durable and hardwearing.
Lambskin, as the softest leather, is known for wearing pretty quickly with everyday use, and so it may be better suited to wear on special occasions.
Also, if any marks do appear on your lambskin bag, you can buff the soft leather with a buffer cloth Chanel, this and the natural oils on your fingers should work pretty well to remove any scratches.
As we’ve mentioned the fact that caviar is much more hardwearing so many times, you might be wondering why anyone would even purchase lambskin leather Chanel bags.
Well, the simple answer is that most people prefer the look of lambskin over caviar: it’s buttery soft, beautifully supple and has a beautiful shine.
It may be hard to see the difference between the leathers in video or images, but in real life, the difference between caviar and lambskin is quite stark, especially in black – we recommend nipping over to your nearest Chanel boutique to take a look yourself!
The appearance of lambskin also changes over time, and if you’ve seen vintage Chanel bags, you probably already know what it looks like. Some love this look while others are not fans – it’s down to personal preference.
On the other hand, caviar leather, like we’ve alluded to before, is sturdier, harder, and in some colors like black, the color isn’t as rich as the lambskin counterparts’.
Chanel currently makes their seasonal bags in lambskin, so if a new collection brings a new color of Chanel bag, chances it will be available in just lambskin.
Finally, this is not a difference, but it is worth noting that both types of leather have the same retail cost, so you won’t be paying any more or less for one type of leather. (Although, interestingly, caviar used to be cheaper than lambskin, even though it’s now often the preferred leather!)
This means you can just pick a leather based on which one is better suited to your style and lifestyle.
Important points to consider
The first thing to consider is how often are you going to wear or use this bag. If this is your first Chanel bag that will get a lot of wear and will be your everyday bag, then the better option is caviar leather as it will hold up better to constant, daily wear and will stand the test of time.
If you have several luxury handbags in your collection, and you rotate the wear of each bag, then you could go for a lambskin Chanel bag as it will not be worn constantly and therefore stays in perfect condition much longer.
Think about how you are going to wear the bag as well. If you are going to wear your classic Chanel bag most often as a crossbody bag, it may be a little better protected, whereas if you want to wear the bag under your arm, it will experience more pressure and squeezing, which may result in the bag losing its shape quicker.
Resale value may be an aspect you want to take into consideration – although Chanel lambskin leather bags look more luxurious, lambskin hasn’t been the preferred leather on the resale market in the last decade.
The hardwearing nature of caviar leather makes it much more attractive for secondhand buyers, which is why you’ll often see caviar bags selling for a premium on sites like Fashionphile.
top Chanel bags in lambskin Vs caviar leather
Here are some of the most iconic Chanel bags, side by side in lambskin and caviar leather, to help with your decision between the two.
1. Wallets on chain
Chanel’s Wallet on Chain is all completely stunning and such a handy little bag to own – so either of these options would be perfect to add to your collection.
Both options are, of course, diamond-quilted for that quintessential Chanel look and feature a chain-link crossbody strap that has been intertwined with leather. Inside the WOC’s are card slots and a zipper compartment that will help keep your bag organized.
The pale grey caviar leather WOC has been accentuated with a small silver CC logo, while the black lambskin edition featured above has a larger polished gold CC logo, which actually is the turn lock for the bag as well.
2. small double flap bag
The double flap bag, in the small size, is an iconic bag that has been reinvented in many different types and colors of leather.
This bag features an exterior flat pocket, as well as interior pockets for the ultimate practicality. Both variations of the Small double flap bag also have the chain strap that has been threaded with leather, and can be worn at its longest across the body or doubled up and worn as a shoulder bag.
3. medium double flap bag
If you are looking for the perfect size bag for all your everyday essentials, then the medium double flap bag may just be the one for you.
With similar features as the small edition, this medium flap bag also has a chain-link strap, interior, and exterior pockets, and a CC hardware turn lock.
As already explored, caviar leather can come in multiple different finishes, including an iridescent finish which is pictured above in dark blue. Available in multiple other colors, the stunning iridescent caviar leather bags play with the light beautifully and are completely eye-catching.
The lambskin edition is here seen in red, which perfectly shows the glossy shine on lambskin leather, while the hardware is polished ruthenium for a dark silver finish.
4. jumbo double flap bag
For the ultimate stylish and practical bag, Chanel has also made the double flap bag in a jumbo size, so you never have to worry about not having enough space!
With the same practical features of the previous two flap bags and classic, elegant design, you can see why the Chanel double flap bag is such an iconic and beloved handbag.
Above, the caviar edition is seen a classic black with gleaming gold hardware on the turn lock and chain strap. While the interior of this bag is a contrasting burgundy leather.
The warm beige shade of the lambskin Jumbo double flap is just stunning, accentuated with the shining gold hardware and lined with the same beige leather.
5. Chanel boy bag
The Chanel Boy bag has a more contemporary, edgy feel to it with a mix of different quilting and chunky hardware.
Both Chanel Boy bags have linear quilting around the border of the front flap, while the rest of the bag features the iconic Chanel diamond quilting. The chain strap is thicker and is fitted with a leather shoulder pad for comfort. The CC logo and push-lock sit on a plate on the front of the bag.
Both caviar and lambskin are stunning types of leather and will look incredible on any classic flap bag, so the decision comes down to which one works best for your lifestyle.
If you are looking for a Chanel bag to wear every day that won’t require taking care of that much, then a caviar Chanel bag would be perfect for you. It is low maintenance and will really stand the test of time.
Whereas, if you are more concerned about the look and you don’t plan to wear the bag on a daily basis, then a bag made from Chanel lambskin leather would be better for you. It is a more delicate material and so is better suited to being a special occasion bag.
It also comes down to which one you prefer the look of – you’ve got to pick a leather you love for an iconic Chanel bag and either way, that bag will look incredible!
We hope you found our analysis of lambskin vs caviar leather useful! For more luxury fashion ideas, make sure to check out the posts below.